If you haven'd done so already, please go read Part One of this post here!
Now onto today!
#3 It doesn’t make us happy: We have statistics on this. It’s well known that earning more than is required to live a COMFORTABLE and SUSTAINABLE life brings no more joy, no more freedom, no more pleasure, no more anything than a sustainable life brings.
In fact, we know for a fact that those who reach these upper echelons of society/wealth tend to be LESS happy, LESS fulfilled, LESS awake and aware than those who live more modestly.
People who are obsessed with manifesting abundance or maintaining abundance tend to be HAVING to throw their entire existence into the endeavor - because again, there’s nothing NATURAL about Western Abundance.
It requires so much sacrifice.
Even if we don’t feel we’re directly sacrificing because we happened to step into something that makes us a lot of passive income - there’s sacrifice SOMEWHERE.
Generally if the wealth people enjoy is a result of lineage or inheritance, if you trace that lineage back, if you look for where the abundance came from, again you're going to find a lot of exploitation and suffering.
Due to the way nature works and due to the way our systems are set up, Western Abundance isn't possible without some form of deep sacrifice. And we really have to start to ask ourselves if this is actually worth it. If what we get on the other side is worth the cost. I think for most of us, if we are really being honest with ourselves and working from a place of honoring and respecting our own humanity and the humanity of others, we're going to find that the answer is no.
People sacrifice themselves at the altar of what’s popular, what’s flashy, what people want RIGHT NOW to distract THEMSELVES from the lives of pain and constant struggle they are in - and this is what ACTUALLY creates abundance in the world we have today.
No one is winning here.
Abundance doesn't make us feel safer, happier or more like we're living our purpose.
Our rich celebrities and C.E.O’s are not the happiest. They're not the most fulfilled. They didn't get to where they are through honest work that genuinely helped others. They got there, for the most part, through battle. Through pain. Through enslavement. Through exploitation. Someone had to pay. And again, once they get there, they have to work really hard to maintain it. Or they then live a life that most of us wouldn't consider actually pleasurable. Sure, there may be lots of luxury. There may be lots of seeming freedom - but joy? Not so much.
Generally, we don’t find people in massive abundance who are really truly doing something that’s GOOD for themselves long term.
#4 Our systems of capitalism are NOT set up to truly reward those who give the most to society: Our capitalist system isn’t lavishing abundance upon those who provide the greatest value or those who actually serve to make this world a better place. Which is one of the justifications I see used so often in defense of ‘manifesting abundance’ - ‘the more money I have the more people I can serve’.
The reality is, the people who do the best in our world are the ones who exploited the hardest.
Who abused the most.
Who took as much for themselves as possible.
Or those who are again, working to be good distractions for the masses who are in great deals of pain, looking for that escape or the fantasy that they too one day could be rich and that would solve all their problems.
Some are really benefiting from the systems of exploitation that have been set up, so may not identify as being OVERTLY harmful, but require that harmful systems continue on just as they are in order to maintain their lifestyles. This is the trickiest one of all. When we don’t see the line of damage that leads to where we are, how we live and how we operate, it's easy to believe that we are innocently doing our thing, making loads of money and that this isn't harming anyone - and in fact we may really believe our impact is a net positive. And on the surface this may appear to be totally true.
It’s this invisible nature of our consumer market that makes us so convinced we can have abundance without causing harm/while doing a greater GOOD to this planet and its people.
We don't see the child labor that goes into the goods we depend on to create our own abundance - how our computers, phones, houses and other pieces of technology are built. We don't see the ways in which our food is subsidized in ways that means those who produce it don't get paid fairly. We don't see the massive environmental impact of depending on corporations for our goods. We don't see the huge populations of people that have been violently displaced to make room for factories, pipelines and feedlots. We don't see the lost of habitat and wild life. We don't see the systemic abuse of people groups who are forced into lives where they don't have equal opportunity because they're being antagonized and therefore they're not competition for us, making the game easier. We don't see. So we feel we're doing good. When in reality we are blindly relying upon systems of destruction in order to create a life for ourselves that allows us the time, technology and resources to create abundance.
Our systems are built around who can convince the most people that their product will bring satisfaction, identity, connection to their truth - and with this THEIR own abundance.
Our systems reward those who distract us.
Those who numb our pain and senses.
Those who entertain.
And it rewards those willing to fight for power, and to keep that power again through manipulation, exploitation and abuse.
It’s set up on foundations of unfair trade, abuse and pollution and thus the more we participate in it, the more we perpetuate these things. I know there are some edge cases of people doing genuinely good work who are also making a lot of money - but those are edge cases. And they still REQUIRE the system to be how it is for abundance to happen. Which is harsh, and hard. But true. Most of the time those making great money doing something of true value, are having to kill themselves hustling all the time in order to do so. Because our systems are NOT set up to reward actual value. They reward power and distraction. This is not spiritual.
Learning where we can reduce our participation in these systems is key to a truly 'spiritual' life. That work is hard and deep. It's also something we do forever - as we are single individuals who are never going to have the power to overhaul the whole system ourselves. We can't get so wrapped up in this that we get paralyzed - we will have to realize that to some extent we're always going to be participating in some harm. We just need to figure out how we can do what we CAN in this MOMENT - in each moment. This is a worthy quest.
#5 It’s filling a hole where social safety nets, community connection and genuine life experience SHOULD be: We’re told over and over again that our abundance will make us happy.
We subconsciously feel inadequate and left out when we don’t think we measure up and have enough to the constantly shifting (on purpose) trends of what’s in and out. This 'never enough/always shifting what's right' tactic isn't something that's exclusive to trends and pop-culture. No. This is something that's in EVERY 'group' we may find ourselves identifying with.
Are you CHRISTIAN enough?
Self actualizing enough?
Are you a good enough parent/partner/friend/lover?
The trends of what is and isn't good enough, what's popular, what's considered socially acceptable - these things shift in ALL groups. In ALL spaces. We're CONSTANTLY feeling that we aren't enough, and this is what keeps us locked in a never ending 'quest' to fix ourselves, making us perfect prey for those who want to profit off of our insecurities. Which again, happens in EVERY group.
The meditation teacher selling the next program, and the next and the next.
The health guru and their never ending coaching programs.
The spiritual leader, self help guru, the business mentor with their newest books, seminars and workshops.
What's enough is never enough. For a reason. It keeps us believing that if WE just measure up, if we just 'get there' one day, we will be HAPPY. Settled. Finally have that freedom and feel that SAFETY we all long for. Its a carrot on the end of a stick and we will never, ever, ever reach that carrot.
We feel insecure on all levels at all times - often no matter how much abundance we have. We have an innate sense of needing to belong and this belonging being intimately tied to how secure we feel - and our systems of consumption and production KNOW this and PLAY on this in order to hook us in.
Spirituality is now doing the same thing. Making it popular. Making it sparkly and branded. Making it shiny and trending. Capitalist culture LOVES that ‘abundance’ has become spiritual - more identity, seeming ‘value’ and belonging to sell with those embossed journals, mala beads and yoga pants.
We never feel fulfilled because this self improvement, and this abundance, isn't what's going to satisfy us.
We want real community. Real safety nets. Real connection. Real life experience. A real chance at just BEING.
No one is selling that, because that wouldn't be PROFITABLE. A group of secure people living to LIVE? They wouldn't keep buying, and the whole system would buckle if that happened.
End of story.
Our systems of abundance generation are not equitable.
They don’t work for ANYONE. Those who are ‘winning’ the game have to sacrifice their humanity to do so. Sometimes blindly. That’s how the system works. Those who are losing, are constantly falling behind. Those who are winning REQUIRE those who are losing to maintain their status.
Again there isn’t enough for all of us to have Western Abundance and Western Abundance is only possible on the backs of exploitation.
We don’t have social safety nets that make it so that we can FEEL like enough is enough.
There’s the constant looming threat of losing it all OR being kicked out/left behind/forgotten because you’re not relevant anymore. You can’t just do your thing then enjoy the rest of your life. You have to keep topping yourself. Keep showing up. Keep performing. It’s a never ending cycle that leads to nowhere.
We all feel insecure because the system NEEDS us to keep PLAYING in order for it to keep going - and if we were to ever realize we had enough, we would check out, and that would mean the end of the system. So the constant threat of ‘not enough’ on all levels is what keeps us hooked in and playing. It’s a tool of manipulation.
We don’t have true meaning and purpose because we’ve been trained by the system to see our careers, how much money we make and our relationship status/heal status (and those status’ have been deeply manipulated/trended/abused in order to keep some people ‘in’ and others ‘out’ so as to keep our consumerists market going/making exploitation of certain groups ‘ok’ so that others can have that way more than they need status) are all we are.
We have to keep chasing status states in order to be secure or feel secure. If we don’t fit in - we either have our rights taken away, or are treated as second class citizens. If we do fit in, we may be safe but the trends are CONSTANTLY changing (hello dieting and beauty industry) and who and who isn’t allowed to exist is tightly controlled by those at the top in ways that mean large groups of people DON’T HAVE BASIC HUMAN RIGHTS - and we all go along with it/don’t notice because we’re all so afraid for OURSELVES.
It’s a set up. And it robs us of our spiritual journey. We need to understand this. Safety Nets, community, everyone having enough - THIS would be fulfilling. What we have? Not at all. Selling us on the idea that if we just have enough abundance/fit in right we will finally feel GOOD is a lie and one that we keep falling for.
It keeps those who AREN'T ever able to 'make it' in the system forever insecure as well. People who DO have enough never FEEL like they do, and those who DON'T can't work their way to a place where they do, generally speaking, because the system requires those with not enough in order to provide excess to others.
It's a vicious cycle. It's crazy-making. It's destabilizing and disconnecting.
Alright let's take a break here and come back next week for the conclusion!